Notebook: Hilliard Bradley Jaguars girls basketball team looks to take next step

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Bradley's Hailey Parsell is expected to be among the returnees for the girls basketball team, which finished 13-8 overall and reached a Division I district semifinal.

Coach Steve De Dent believes a tough schedule and depth were hurdles for the Hilliard Bradley girls basketball team during a season in which it also had to deal with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. 

Through it all, the 13th-seeded Jaguars still finished 13-8 overall and reached a Division I district semifinal where they lost 43-34 at fifth-seeded Watterson on Feb. 24. 

“Overall, we had a good season,” said De Dent, who completed his third year. “If you take the lack of depth we had along with the tough schedule with the (OCC-Central Division) teams and adding teams like Reynoldsburg into that mix, I thought we had a really, really good season.” 

Bradley tied Olentangy Liberty for second (7-3) in the league behind Dublin Coffman (10-0). 

The Jaguars had three seniors in guard Carly Callahan, guard Chloe Callahan and forward Tori McClelland.

Chloe Callahan was the league Player of the Year for the past two seasons, averaging a team-high 15.4 points along with 2.1 steals per game. The Findlay recruit also made 67 of 81 free throws (82.7 percent). 

Carly Callahan, a Hillsdale recruit, was first-team all-league, averaging 10.3 points and a team-leading 5.3 rebounds as well as 2.3 assists and 1.7 steals. McClelland averaged 4.9 points and 4.4 rebounds. 

“We had three quality seniors, and I’ve never had any kids work like the Callahans have,” De Dent said. “They put in the time, and that’s why they’re going to play at the Division II level. 

“Tori didn’t play as a junior, and getting her back was great. She was our hustle person and led us on 50-50 balls won.” 

Junior forward Macy Chapman (second-team all-league, 7.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.9 steals) and sophomore forward Leigha Dennison (honorable mention all-league, 9.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.6 steals) lead the players expected to return.  

Junior forward Mackenzie Maynard and sophomore guard/forward Hailey Parsell also should be in the mix. 

“Each year you lose seniors and you’ll miss them, but you have to find players to replace them,” De Dent said. “We’ll do that. Hopefully, we can get through the pandemic and have a good offseason. 

“We’ve gone 30-15 over the last two years. Now we have to get over the hump and not just get to a district final but win it.” 

Junior Alexis Finnegan was honorable mention all-league after averaging 3.5 points for the Panthers, who finished 9-14 overall.

•The Darby girls basketball team had a rollercoaster season, but fourth-year coach Tay Tufts is optimistic about the future. 

The 25th-seeded Panthers lost 65-38 at top-seeded Newark on Feb. 24 in a Division I district semifinal to finish 9-14 overall. They tied Dublin Jerome for third (5-5) in the OCC-Cardinal behind champion Marysville (8-2). 

“Looking at what we accomplished, we had an up-and-down season,” Tufts said. “We played some games very tough. … We just didn’t have that consistency."

Center Sofia Gentile (5.6 points, 4.9 rebounds per game) and guard Sophie Williams (6.3 points) led a four-player senior class. 

Sophomores Bella Heaton (guard) and Ashley Powers (guard/forward) are expected to be the top returnees.

Powers (first-team all-league) led the team in scoring (9.8 points) and rebounds (5.9), and Heaton (second-team all-league) averaged 9.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and a team-high 2.5 assists. 

Junior guard Tayen Brown only played nine games before suffering a season-ending knee injury. She averaged 7.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists and a team-leading 2.3 steals. Junior guard Alexis Finnegan (honorable mention all-league) averaged 3.5 points per contest. 

“We were able to develop Ashley Powers and Bella Heaton into solid players this year,” Tufts said. “We’ll expect more from them in the future." 

–Scott Hennen 

Davidson girls basketball coach Joy Taylor witnessed some bright spots this season.  

The Wildcats finished 7-15 overall and went 3-7 in the OCC-Central to finish fourth behind champion Dublin Coffman (10-0).  

“We’re very thankful to have gotten in 22 games,” Taylor said. “I’m proud of the commitment and positivity shown by our players throughout the season. Our seniors were a great group that were supportive, good leaders and they all performed better this year than any year in the past. They showed great individual improvements on the court and were great teammates.”  

Guard Brianna O’Connor, one of six seniors, averaged a team-high 14.4 points and 3.0 assists and was first-team all-league. She is second in career assists (272) and steals (227) and fourth in scoring (926) at Davidson.  

“Bri had a great career,” Taylor said.  

Senior guard/forward Ashley Barrington was honorable mention all-league, and senior forward Grace Royer averaged a team-best 6.1 rebounds.  

Among those eligible to return are juniors Abby Emery (guard) and Emory Trout (guard), sophomore Kiersten Cashell (guard) and freshman Gwen Jenkins (guard).  

–Frank DiRenna  

•The Hilliard hockey club team reached a state semifinal in the 12-team Buckeye Cup state tournament before losing 5-2 to Medina on Feb. 28 at Chiller North.  

Owen Ambrozy and Sammy Delio each scored, with Luke Starr adding two assists and James Schwinne III one.  

Medina lost  5-1 to Dayton later that day in the state final.  

The Wildcats were 23-14-2 before closing the season March 5-7 in the Big Bear Ice Warrior Tournament in Indianapolis.  

–Frank DiRenna  

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BRADLEY GIRLS BASKETBALL 

•Record: 13-8 overall 

•OCC-Central standings: Dublin Coffman (10-0), Bradley and Olentangy Liberty (7-3), Davidson (3-7), Olentangy Orange and Upper Arlington (1-8) 

•Seniors lost: Carly Callahan, Chloe Callahan and Tori McClelland 

•Key returnees: Macy Chapman, Leigh Dennison, Mackenzie Maynard and Hailey Parsell 

•Postseason: Defeated Liberty 48-40; lost to Watterson 43-34 in Division I district semifinal 

DARBY GIRLS BASKETBALL 

•Record: 9-14 overall 

•OCC-Cardinal standings: Marysville (8-2), Olentangy (6-4), Darby and Dublin Jerome (both 5-5), Olentangy Berlin and Thomas Worthington (3-7) 

•Seniors lost: Kelsey Binion, Ashley Derenzo, Sofia Gentile and Sophie Williams 

•Key returnees: Tayen Brown, Alexis Finnegan, Bella Heaton and Ashley Powers 

•Postseason: Def. DeSales 43-32; lost to Newark 65-38 in Division I district semifinal 

DAVIDSON GIRLS BASKETBALL  

•Record: 7-15 overall  

•OCC-Central standings: Dublin Coffman (10-0), Bradley and Olentangy Liberty (7-3), Davidson (3-7), Olentangy Orange and Upper Arlington (1-8)  

•Seniors lost: Ashley Barrington, Kylie Fetty, Kira Kaufman, Brianna O’Connor, Grace Royer and Sadie Rudduck  

•Key returnees: Kiersten Cashell and Gwen Jenkins  

•Postseason: Lost to Watkins Memorial 54-39 in first round of Division I district tournament